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EC unhappy with tone, content of Rahul Gandhi's speeches

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EC unhappy with tone, content of Rahul Gandhis speeches
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New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday faced the displeasure of the Election Commission over the "tone, tenor and content" of portions of his two election speeches and was asked to be more circumspect in his public utterances in the future.

The commission in its order took exception to portions of Gandhi's speeches last month at Churu in Rajasthan and Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

The panel said it was not satisfied with the explanation given in Gandhi's reply.

"Having regard to the totality of facts and circumstances of the case and submissions and contentions made by you (Rahul Gandhi) in your reply under reference, the commission conveys its displeasure and advises you to be more circumspect in your public utterances during election campaigns," the commission said in its order.

"While the commission acknowledges the underlying intention and spirit of your impugned speeches to foster and promote communal harmony, it takes exception to the tone, tenor and content of the impugned portions of your speeches (extracted in the commission's notice) which are part of your said speeches," the commission said.

"The commission considers that the aforesaid portions of your speeches were not in consonance with the letter and spirit of the Model Code of Conduct which prohibits any speeches or statements which may tend to aggravate differences between different religious communities and which also prohibits criticism of other political parties on the basis of unverified allegations," the poll panel said in its five-page order.

Gandhi was served notice by the poll panel Oct 31 for violating the model code of conduct over his remarks made in Churu Oct 23 and in Indore Oct 24 in which he had charged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with instigating riots.

He also said Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was trying to be in touch with riot victims in Muzaffarnagar.

The BJP had complained to the poll panel over Gandhi's speeches.

The panel said it had carefully considered Gandhi's reply Nov 8 and duly analysed his submissions.

Gandhi had denied violating the model code of conduct and had sought to justify his remarks during election speeches, saying he had only criticised the policies and programmes of BJP.

Gandhi also said his contentions were based on facts established by judicial commissions and by the guiding philosophy of BJP.

He said the whole emphasis of his speeches was on maintenance of communal harmony and unity and had not been made with a view to creating any hatred or tension between communities.

"The commission is not satisfied with the explanation furnished by you in reply to the commission's notice," the order said.

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